16 test positive for TB exposure


Of 100 students and faculty tested for tuberculosis after coming into contact with Adjunct Instructor of French Mary E. Fossier, 16 have tested positive for having come in contact with the disease, a measure which, the university says, is only a preliminary diagnosis.

After an unnamed faculty member was reported as diagnosed with the airborne form of the contagious respiratory disease on Nov. 10, officials from the Tuberculosis Control Center of the Milwaukee Health Department administered tests to 100 students and faculty members believed to have been in contact with the person.

The administration initially told the Tribune only seven people were believed to have been in close contact with the faculty member, who several students identified as Fossier.

According to an update issued Wednesday by the Office of Public Affairs in conjunction with the Tuberculosis Contact Center, aside from Fossier “there are no other known cases of (tuberculosis) on the Marquette campus.”

Ben Tracy, director of university communication, said the average level of positive tests for a sample population is 3 percent. Given the 16 percent infection rate of the population tested at Marquette, Tracy said “statistically speaking,” some of the students that tested positive must have been exposed through the teacher.

Freshman Geoff Glowacki, who was tested, described the test as an injection that would determine if a person’s immune system was fighting the virus.

“I’m really just kind of glad it’s over,” Glowacki said. His test results were negative.

Glowacki said seven people had tested positive in his course section alone.

Fossier was listed in the Timetable of Classes as teaching three course sections, directly coming into contact with 98 students.

Another student, sophomore Sean Flannery, tested positive and said that all students in Fossier’s classes were expected to undergo chest X-rays and another test in February in order to ensure that they didn’t have the virus.

The Milwaukee Health Department will be paying for all testing, according to Tracy.

Flannery said the course of treatment for the disease could mean six to nine months of treatment with antibiotics.

According to the update, any student or teacher can obtain a free tuberculosis test through University Student Health Services. More information on obtaining a test is available by phone at 288-7184.

According to the National Center for Disease Control, 95 percent of people who are exposed to the virus that causes tuberculosis never develop the full-fledged disease.

Symptoms of the disease include a repetitive sharp cough, sharp chest pain and the coughing up of blood or sputum.,”Brian O’Connor”